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functional food

Make good use of foods and herbs that are rich in natural antioxidants and immune-enhancers which work synergistically to protect you.

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Banish The Blues

Banish The Blues

Depression can be a killer. I know. I suffered from it badly in my early twenties. I suspect I was born with a genetic tendency towards it. I am familiar with the deep sadness, feelings of shame and helplessness, the terrible fatigue coupled with not being able to sleep to relieve it, the poor concentration and strange shifts in appetite. I have learned a lot about handling it over the years. There are many causes of depression—some are of the body, and some of the psyche. I don’t think you can separate the two. Just as body and mind feed each other in producing the dark, seemingly endless blues which can set in at any period of your life, the herbs you call on for help will improve both body and spirit. When you feel depressed, you can feel anxious as well. Many of the plants which are effective in lifting the blues help to clear fear and anxiety too. Cleanse Body And Soul Where you find depression, you almost always find a mass of creative energy which, for one reason or another, has remained blocked. This can make you feel impotent and helpless. You also often find a tendency to live life by other people’s rules rather than your own—from the depths of your own soul. Indeed, if depression is deep and debilitating enough, you may even come to feel you have no soul to live from. Deep-cleansing the body is important in releasing blocked creative energy and restoring the biochemical balance that helps wash away the blues. Use the Herbal Cleanse. Take a look at my brand new 10 Day Clean-Up Plan book, just published on Amazon. When your cleansing program is done, try following a long-term way of eating based on fresh vegetables—many of them raw—and good quality proteins from fish, organic meat, free range chicken and eggs. Avoid milk products including milk itself, yoghurt, and cheese (butter is OK because it is a fat, and it is the milk protein that tends to cause problems for people prone to depression). Also cut out wheat and anything made from flour such as pasta, breakfast cereals, breads and biscuits and, finally, make highly processed convenience foods a thing of the past. It was just such a diet—one in which at least 50-75% of the foods I ate were raw—that began to lift my own deep depression in my twenties. Sacred Plants Then, turn your attention to herbs and discover just how useful they can be to rebalance brain chemistry, strengthen the body and clear the mind. Then call on the healing powers of some of the best plant-based antidepressants you can find, from St John’s Wort, rosemary and California poppy, to the gorgeous ginkgo. Ginkgo Clears Cobwebs The beautiful leaves from ginkgo biloba—also known as the Maidenhair tree—improve circulation throughout the body and brain. Ginkgo’s seeds were sent to Europe in the 1720s from Japan and China. The Chinese use the ginkgo seeds, but research in the West has mostly concentrated on the leaves. They contain ginkgolides, unknown in any other plant. These phytochemicals block blood platelet activating factors. In doing so, they inhibit all sorts of allergic responses. Meanwhile, ginkgo’s flavonoids do wonders to improve circulation to the brain. Recent studies show that this long-standing Oriental gift can help people clear depression. Ginkgo increases the rate at which information is transmitted at the level of nerve cells. This helps depression in many, thanks to the plant’s ability to enhance the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain. An effective antidepressant dose in one study where ginkgo was used to specifically counter depression was 240 milligrams of the powdered herb a day, in capsule form. It can take six to eight weeks to experience the full effects of ginkgo. So be patient. California Bright Lights Its watery sap has long been used by Native Americans to relieve toothache. It relieves pain, relaxes spasms and warms your body. California poppy is the best anxiety-calming herb I know and it works quickly—in a few hours. Don’t worry, it is not a narcotic, only a gentle sedative and tranquillizer so safe that herbalists give it to children. Neither does it depress the central nervous system as many sedatives do. The usual dose of tincture is 1 teaspoon to half a glass of water taken twice a day in the afternoon and evening. I like to combine tincture of golden California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, with that of St John’s Wort—in equal parts—to lift the blues. Bright As Sunlight The yellow flowers and dancing leaves of St John’s Wort—Hypericum perforatum—can bring balance and joy. This plant may be slow to act, but its effects are deep and long lasting. St John’s Wort is nature’s answer to Prozac. Every part of this joyous herb yields uplifting power—its leaves, its shoots, its glorious yellow flowers. Even the way it grows seems to celebrate life. St John’s Wort can banish anxiety, bring light into the dark depths of depression, and help transform difficult times—the loss of a job, of a lover, or of sense of purpose—into times of power. In the past 20 years, dozens of randomized clinical trials have shown that this plant is just as, if not more, effective than standard antidepressant drugs. Yet it comes without the negative side effects. In Germany alone, 1 million prescriptions are written for this plant each year. The bright yellow flowers of St John’s Wort contain a red oil called hypericin, which is anti-viral and probably mood enhancing. Many studies show that it is whole plant extracts, however, rather than hypericin alone that have the best antidepressant effects. Help From St John's Wort To make tea, use 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes, strain, and drink 1 to 3 times a day. Another effective way to use St John’s Wort for depression is as a tincture. When you feel at your lowest you don’t have to go to the trouble of making a tea. Take 1 teaspoon of St John’s Wort tincture in a little water 3 times a day. When used as an antidepressant it should be taken for at least a month before results can be seen. A lucky few people, however, respond right away. Caution: In a few people St John’s Wort causes mild nausea, stomach-ache, depressed appetite, tiredness, and in even fewer still, sensitivity to sunlight. It shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy. If you are already taking antidepressant drugs do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Lift Your Spirit Tea Rosmarinus officinalis grows just about everywhere. Who would ever suspect that the rosemary plant is one of the most useful herbs you will ever find for lifting the blues. The strong and sturdy plant is an excellent tonic as well as an all-round stimulant. It raises spirits and energizes the body, clearing apathy, nervous exhaustion and digestive disturbances. Rosemary has a long-standing reputation for strengthening the memory as well. That’s why Greek scholars wore garlands of rosemary when taking exams. It is also rejuvenating, in no small part thanks to the flavonoid diosmin which it boasts in abundance, to strengthen capillaries and collagen in the skin. In the 14th century, 72 year-old Izabella, Queen of Hungary, was crippled with rheumatism. She used masses of Hungary Water (rosemary leaves macerated in alcohol) and regained her youth so well that the king of Poland proposed to her. One of the first to be distilled, a few drops of essential oil of rosemary in the bath can help clear a fuzzy head with ease. You can use the fresh leaves or the essential oil in steam inhalations for exhaustion and shattered nerves. Meanwhile, simple rosemary tea is bracing and wonderfully uplifting. Spirit Lifting Tea Put a handful of rosemary leaves (1 tablespoon of the fresh herb or 1 teaspoon of the dried herb per cup) into a warmed pot and pour boiling water over them. Replace the lid to prevent the aromatic vapors from being wasted. Leave to brew for five minutes. Drink hot. Top quality herb products: Gaia Herbs, Kava Kava Root Liquid Herbal Extract Validated Full Spectrum Extract Dietary Supplement Supports Normal Relaxation from Tension Brought on by Daily Stress Promotes Muscular and Nerve Relaxation Encourages a Sense of Emotional Well Being Order Gaia Herbs, Kava Kava Root from iherb Natrol Ginkgo Biloba Helps Improve Memory Supports Sharpened Alertness Dietary Supplement Natrol Ginkgo Biloba may help support circulation, which is one way researchers believe this herb helps enhance cognitive function. Our formula is standardized to guarantee a potent level of highly active compounds. Order Natrol Ginkgo Biloba from iherb Gaia Herbs St. John's Wort Liquid Herbal Extract Validated Full Spectrum Extract Dietary Supplement Order Gaia Herbs St. John's Wort from iherb Herb Pharm, California Poppy We prepare our California Poppy Extract from fresh (undried) whole Eschscholzia californica plants (root, leaf & flower) which are Certified Organically Grown on our own farm without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. To assure optimal extraction of bioactive compounds, the plants are hand-harvested while in full flower and are then taken directly to our laboratory and promptly extracted while still fresh and succulent. Our poppy plants are never fumigated or irradiated. Order Herb Pharm, California Poppy from iherb

Apple Detox - Sacred Truths Podcast Episode 1

Apple Detox - Sacred Truths Podcast Episode 1

In the next five minutes, I’ll tell you how—with little effort—you can banish feeling low in energy and replace it with looking and feeling great, in only two days. Meet my amazing Apple Detox. It can work miracles if you’ve been through a spate of too much work and too little sleep. It’s great in Spring before you hit the beach, after Christmas indulgences, or any time you need a lift. Detoxification Detoxification is a long word for just clearing out your system. It’s a process that stimulates your body’s natural ability to get rid of the toxic wastes that build up in your cells, tissues and organs from eating convenience foods and breathing polluted air. What’s the secret power? Organic apples. The second most cultivated and widely-eaten fruit in the world is the apple. We were well into the 21st century before science finally discovered its incredible nutritional value. Medical News Today featured an article about the top 10 healthiest foods. Apples were number one. Apples are extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and marvelous dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain help reduce our risk of developing cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. And there’s lots more. Scientific Studies Recent studies show that apples have the ability to improve your neurological health since they’re rich in quercetin, which reduces cellular damage caused by the oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Research at University of Quebec discovered that apples also reduce our risk of stroke. A big study involving 9,208 people showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had the lowest risk of stroke. Apples can also help reduce the risk of diabetes. A huge study involving 187,382 people showed that those who ate 3 servings of apples a week had a 7% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared to those who did not. Now, let’s talk Apple Detox. How do you do it? Set aside two, or no more than three days for your Apple Detox. Buy a box of organic apples—or three or four different kinds for variety. They must be organic You can eat as many as you like each day, but you should eat the whole apple, including the peel, the seeds and the core You must chew it all very well, until you’ve got the last drop of flavor out of the fruit The only part you throw away is the woody stem You eat nothing but apples They must be fresh and eaten raw. You can munch your crisp organic apple au naturel or you can grate them and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top You can even put them in a blender with a little pure water to make a whole apple drink But you must not put them through a juicer. You need the whole apple to make things work Detox Reaction If you happen to get a headache within the first day or two, or feel moody, get an upset stomach or loose bowels, this is only a sign that your body is throwing off wastes at such a pace that you are experiencing what’s known in natural medicine as a cleansing crisis. In truth, this happens to very few people—except a few heavy coffee drinkers. If it happens to you, be glad. Even though it may be a bit of a nuisance for a few hours, this is actually a good sign. Your body is taking the opportunity to get rid of a lot of debris that it wants to eliminate. Make time to rest and relax—in a darkened room if possible. Be patient and kind to yourself while it passes. It’s quite a feat to be ridding your body of so much old debris at once. When this cleansing passes, it can leave you better than ever. Check with your health practitioner Eat apples whenever you’re hungry throughout the day. How long you carry out your Apple Detox depends on you. Always check with your health practitioner. Two days are plenty to give you a good start on spring cleaning your body. Three days is as much as any healthy body should do on his or her own, without being under the supervision of a practitioner well-versed in the use of living foods. Cautions No pregnant or lactating woman should ever do an apple detox, nor should anyone with a kidney, liver or heart complaint. For in such cases a sudden change of diet can carry with it potential dangers to health. But, if you are generally well, then a short apple detox is a great way to clear the decks for a new way of healthier living. Keeps The Doctor Away No wonder apples are special. The Welsh adage that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is not just an old wives’ tale. The organic apple has more than earned it title as the queen of fruits. Try it and see for yourself.

Sugar Conspiracy Still Rages

Sugar Conspiracy Still Rages

Corrupt information about sugar from advertisers, multinational food corporations and mainstream media abounds. Meanwhile, an unsuspecting public often swallows what they’re told, hook line and sinker. For the sake of your health, you need to become ever more savvy about which products you can feel good about buying and which to avoid completely. Bear with me. I’ll lay out the bare bones of what you need to be aware of as you wend your way around the continually expanding selection of sugar-related products deceptively disguised as “good for you.” SWEET TRUTHS Sugar purveyors have got away with murder. Along with governments who have been supposed to guide us on what to eat to stay healthy, they have for decades wrongly told us that eating fats is dangerous for our health. Multinational food and drink manufacturers cunningly decided to replace fats in the convenience foods they sell with sugar to make their wares more palatable. The vast majority of shoppers, consciously attempting to follow “official” advice, wholeheartedly embraced all the sugar-filled packaged foods they were offered. Many shoppers are now waking up to how dangerous sugar is to their health and their life. But we have a long way to go. Sugar is the most damaging of all the carbohydrates. Ordinary table sugar consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. The glucose part gets digested in your stomach. Then it enters your bloodstream, where it makes your blood sugar rise. This triggers insulin release—a major cause of the development of insulin resistance. The other 50% component of table sugar—fructose—acts differently in your body. It does not affect your blood sugar, and we do not yet know for sure what part fructose may play in the release of insulin. So we are still being taught that eating and drinking fructose fine. This makes fructose healthy, right? Wrong! WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW When you eat a piece of fruit—say, an apple—the fruit sugar it contains comes wrapped up in natural fiber including pectin, a soluble fiber which helps your body eliminate heavy metals from your system. It can take you 10 minutes or so to munch your way through an apple. It takes even more time for your body to break down the fiber and absorb it. This means that the fructose in the apple you eat is released relatively slowly. As a consequence, its fructose can be processed a little at a time by the liver, which is the organ that handles fructose. However, when you drink a nice big glass of apple juice or a soda (which contains 10 times more fructose than an apple) it can take as few as 10 seconds for you to swallow it all. Then your liver gets bombarded with a very dangerous form of fructose known as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). An excellent article published in the prestigious journal Nature, “The Toxic Truth About Sugar,” points out that the consumption of the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup has increased one hundred fold since 1970. “We’re being poisoned to death,” says Robert Lustig, MD. “That’s a very strong statement, but I think we can back it up with very clear scientific evidence.” Lustig and his colleagues suggest that sugar be regulated in the same way alcohol is regulated. The human body, especially the liver, never evolved to handle the kind of fructose load that it is now getting. What does it do? It responds by turning much of the fructose you take in into fat deposits. It also makes you highly prone to cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, hypertension, dementia and type 2 diabetes. SUGAR INFESTATION In the 19th century, we ate between 10 and 20 pounds of sugar per person per year. Today, each of us consumes between 150 and 200 pounds of it a year—much of it hidden in convenience foods, fruit juices and sodas. Because sugar, added to so many processed foods, is everywhere, it is virtually unavoidable. Millions of poorly informed people continue to consume 500 calories or more every day in added sugar alone. What few people yet know is that sugar acts upon the same areas of your brain as alcohol, cocaine and cigarettes do, creating cravings, unnatural hunger and an addiction for yet more sugar. The excessive amount of “stealth” sugar in processed foods has become the backbone that supports the profitable disease care business worth billions. Chronic high blood sugar and insulin don’t just make you fat and predispose you to chronic diseases, they age you. Sugar also undermines the integrity of your skin. When you eat a diet full of non-vegetable carbohydrates—grains, cereals and sugars of any kind—your body gets busy fabricating wrinkles, sags, a puffy face and a lackluster complexion. And, as a result of the chronic high blood sugar and insulin resistance which develops over time, you can end up without the energy to do anything to change it. HEALTH DESTROYERS High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is something food and drink manufacturers have used in ever-increasing quantities since 1978. It was originally a worthless by-product of the corn industry. That is, until someone had the bright idea of turning it into syrup and pouring it into sodas, cakes, breads, cookies, ready meals, even smoked meats and fish—you name it. Nowadays you can find HFCS just about everywhere in packaged foods and drinks—juices, sodas and fruity yoghurts, luncheon meats, even in smoked fish. Foods that most people still believe to be “healthy” are now riddled with this cheap, dangerous stuff. Not surprisingly, HFCS is ultra-sweet—55% fructose and 45% glucose. Because nothing raises blood sugar levels and triggers insulin release more quickly than sugar in its many forms, eating anything full of sugar gives you an immediate ‘high’. Then, it can just as quickly bring you down, leaving you craving something else sweet to keep going. Want to do one thing which can dramatically improve your health, your weight and your good looks? Just stop eating sugar, including fructose, in any form, as well as any foods or drinks that contain it. Beware of what you buy because it is often not even listed as an ingredient on labels. HOW TO CUT YOUR SUGAR INTAKE It’s easy. Change your way of eating from a diet of packaged convenience foods to pesticide-free, whole organic foods that are unprocessed. Never use canned fruits in recipes that need sweetening. Instead go for fresh, low glycemic fruits or top quality stevias. Use organic seasonings to create great flavors for your dishes. Most often, the sugar content of a food has been deliberately hidden by food manufacturers by giving it a name that shoppers will not recognize. Given the dangers implicit in using sweeteners, it’s equally important to be cautious when looking for alternatives to sugar itself. These fall into three main categories: Artificial sweeteners—which you want to avoid like the plague. Sugar alcohols. Natural sweeteners. All artificial sweeteners are harmful, each in its own way. These include aspartame—the worst of the lot. You’ll find it in Equal and NutriSweet; sucralose, which you’ll find in in Splenda; saccharine, which you’ll find in Sweet and Low, as well as many other artificial sweeteners by different names. There is much evidence to back up how dangerous these are. Avoid all of them if you care about your health. Sugar Alcohols with “ol” in their name such as xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, glycerol and lactitol can spike blood sugar but beware. Just because some product label says “sugar-free” this is not necessarily the truth, nor can you be sure it is calorie-free or low-sugar. Probably safest of them is xylitol, but only if you use it occasionally and very sparingly. (By the way, it is deadly for cats and dogs.) “Natural Sweetener” does not necessarily mean natural. Agave Syrup and Agave Nectar can be even worse than HFCS. It’s a misnomer to refer to them as “natural”, despite the advertising hype that has most of the world still believing they are. Higher than any other sweetener on the market, Agave has virtually no nutritional value. As for honey, which has become seriously distorted as a result of the hideous damage being done to bee colonies, it too is to be avoided unless you happen to gather it from your own hives. The Safest Choices: Stevia is an exotic herb which grows in subtropical areas of South America. This plant has been used to sweeten herbal drinks since pre-Columbian times. It’s a godsend for enhancing health and reducing your sugar intake. It’s great for sweetening drinks and baking dishes. But make sure you use only the best. All sorts of so-called stevias such as Truvia and Purevia continue to be promoted by multinational corporations. They call themselves “all-natural sweeteners”. In reality, they have been manufactured only from “certain active ingredients” in the stevia plant, not from the whole plant. As a result, they are distortions of the real thing. Don’t use them. Another good natural sweetener is Lo Han Guo, which comes from a Chinese fruit. It too is good, but more expensive than stevia. Spoonable Stevia By Stevita: Spoonable Stevia by Stevita uses only stevia extract with at least 95% pure glycosides (extremely sweet tasting ingredients of the Stevia herb leaves), and a little erythritol, a crystal granulated naturally produced filler found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It is best for baking and sprinkling. Order Spoonable Stevia By Stevita from iherb ENGLISH TOFFEE STEVIA: Wisdom Natural, SweetLeaf, Liquid Stevia, English Toffee Sweet Leaf liquid stevia with all natural flavors is convenient and easy to use. As a supplement, add this nutritious stevia to water, tea, coffee, milk, sparkling water, protein shakes, plain yogurt or anything else you can imagine. It comes in many different flavors including lemon but English Toffee flavor is the best by far. Order English Toffee Stevia from iherb

I must have flowers

I must have flowers

Whatever else happens in my life, I must have flowers. These gifts from Nature nourish the soul. We scatter their petals when we marry. We send bouquets of them to celebrate the birth of a child. We decorate our homes and our places of worship with them. We use flowers to comfort the lonely and the ill. We even honour the end of a person’s life by laying floral wreathes on a grave. Not only do flowers play a central role in the rituals of life, they bless our ordinary daily existence by blossoming in our gardens, waste ground and hedgerows – and gracing our windowsills by protruding gaily from a cracked teapot. Perhaps it is the velvet softness of their petals and their luminous colours that make these affirmations from nature so precious to us. Maybe it is the uplifting energy they carry – an energy you sense lying in a field of poppies or when you go into a florist’s shop. It could be the fragrance of flowers, or the transient nature of their coming and going. I don’t know. Ancient Wreaths Our passion for flowers and the awareness that they carry deep healing and sanctifying energies are both as old as history itself. Not long ago, archaeologists digging in the Cave of Shanidar within the Zagros Mountains of Iran unearthed nine bodies of primitive people and discovered that, at least 60,000 years ago, men and women were carrying out flower rituals similar to those we use today. The archaeologists found soil samples in which clusters of pollen from twenty-eight different species of flower lay in a circle forming a wreath which had been laid to rest with human remains. One of the interesting things about the find was that the flowers these primitive people chose to use as a sacred and healing offering to their dead were not the most beautiful, nor were they the most readily available in that area. The flowers from which these wreathes had been made were chosen from plants that are specifically known for their healing properties - hollyhock, grape hyacinth and horsetail - all of which we still use today for medicinal purposes. Precious Offerings The Ancient Greeks and the Egyptians used aromatic oils and flowers for healing too, as they did for embalming, expanding consciousness and for sanctifying space. The Bible is riddled with words of praise for flowers and what they have to teach us, both about the realms of Spirit and about the ordinary world in which we live most of our lives. It tells us “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Mathew 6:28-29). In Song of Solomon 2:12 “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is at hand…” Soul Healers Not only does humanity have a passion for flowers. Flowers have a passion for us. They love to share with us their beauty, their healing powers – their very life force. “When I touch a flower, I am touching infinity,” said the American botanist George Washington Carver: “Through the flower I talk to the Infinite… a silent force… that still small voice.” American clairvoyant and healer Edgar Cayce celebrated the healing power of flowers again and again. He insisted that flowers bring companionship to those of us who are lonely, that they speak to the “shut in”, and that they bring Divine grace and upliftment to everyone. That is certainly my own experience of flowers. The Time Is Now Despite our longstanding love affair with flowers - despite the way for thousands of years we have used them for healing and to mark life’s passages, never in recorded history have we experienced a greater need for their healing and their blessings than right now. For we who live in the post-modern world often feel ourselves to be alienated, isolated, suspended, caught somewhere between the magnificent technology we have created and a longing to bond with the earth and with our own souls. Flowers can help bridge this gap. I think they do this better than anything else in nature. Flowers delight us, bless us and heal us. They clear the spiritual anorexia so widespread in urban life and help fill up our starving souls. They remind us of our own simple humanity as well as our essentially divine nature: They whisper to us of the splendour in the world around us—a world of which we humans are the guardians. Most important of all our relationship with flowers helps realign our ordinary day-to day lives with the authenticity of our unique soul energies. A big statement to make? Yes, but having worked with flower meditation for many years, having explored the potential flower essences have to build bridges for us between our inner truth and our outer lives I have come to believed with all my being that this is so. How Do Flowers Heal? No-one knows for sure. There are so many of their elements which carry healing potential that it would be hard to list them all: Their colours influence our mind, our energy levels, our clarity of thought. Colourful flowers and the plants they come from often carry health-enhancing nutrients within them - anti-oxidants such as flavinoids, which give plants their wonderful colours and help protect from degeneration, and other phyto-chemicals that help to strengthen immunity, improve circulation or delay ageing. Then there are the more recently discovered vibrational energies which Dr Bach called on when he fashioned flower essences and, of course, essential oil treats and treatments for person and place. Last, but by no means least, is the power of flower meditation. Here is where the soul of a human being meets the soul of a flower to bring healing, friendship and blessings to both. To Each His Own Flowers are as individual in their personalities as they are in their looks and fragrance. Some love the night. They only display their beauty and emit their fragrance once the sun goes down. Like night-owl people, at their best in the wee small hours of the morning, these blossoms have a passionate nature. They often carry exotic names like Queen of the Night, Night-Blooming Silene, and Gilliflower. Other flowers, like goatsbeard, poppy and marigold, open their petals at the crack of dawn then close down each evening and drift away into sleep. The sunflower stretches itself boldly towards heaven, while the bright blue borage flower, worshiped by Celtic warriors for its ability to bring courage in battle, bows its tiny head towards the ground. A shy soul with a great power to heal, borage prefers to go unnoticed – despite its heart-rending beauty. I have learned much about the individual personalities and soul nature of flowers not only from meditating on them and using them for healing but also from photographing them. Some, like peony, love the spotlight. Put them in front of a camera and they upstage everything else. Many have very strong likes and dislikes about where you plant them and where you place a bouquet of them in a room. On one table a particular flower becomes recalcitrant. But move it to the top of a bookcase in front of a window and suddenly it surrenders its beauty to the camera the way a woman yields to the touch of her lover. Each flower has unique healing properties and each speaks its own silent language. Learning that language, listening to flower wisdom and opening your heart to a flower’s healing energy can be a joyous and often life-changing experience. Spotlight On Flower Essences Get to know half a dozen of the most useful essences. Choose them depending on where you are in your life now and as you change explore more of these wonderful floral friends. Here is my personal selection with some information about each essence. It can open up a whole new world for you of beauty, healing and joy. Here are a few flower essences you might like Bach Original Flower Essences, Vervain Vervain is essentially a plant of ease. It eases heartache, headache, stomach-ache, concern for the future and bad luck. Dr Bach made a flower essence from vervain to ease stress and tension. Vervain is an essence for those of us who tend to ‘live on our nerves’. These people are likely to take on tasks beyond their strength then force themselves onward through will-power alone. They are the martyrs of this world who will do anything for their cause. Vervain essence is calming. It helps you to slow down long enough to listen to your own needs, and to the opinions of others as well as to let you restore your strength. In all its forms vervain brings relief. Order Bach Original Flower Essences, Vervain from iherb Flower Essence Services, Lotus The lotus is no symbol of abstract perfection never to be achieved. All true lovers of the lotus will tell you that true spirituality grows out of the depths of material form. Step by step it reaches toward the light. The unique power nestled within the lotus’ genetic structure is this: Only this flower among all water plants is born from the muck with such strength of stem that, instead of floating on the water as do others, the power of its life force raises it a foot or more above the pond. Flower essence made from lotus can help when you find yourself knee deep in an endless swamp. Meditating on the lotus flower opens you to a pride-free experience of your soul’s divinity. I find both the essence and the meditation useful in blearing illusions and dissolving spiritual pride. Lotus reminds us that all true spirituality is deeply rooted in imperfection. Order Flower Essence Services, Lotus from iherb Flower Essence Services, Sunflower Sunflower essence helps those on a spiritual path, who tend to forget their bodily needs. It brings grounding and helps us manage times of dramatic change with ease. Its wisdom is a fine example of the Australian aboriginal idea of 'keeping your head in the stars and your feet on the ground'. Sunflower essence also helps strengthen self-esteem. It can improve the way you relate to people in authority by allowing you to maintain your sense of self in the face of someone else’s demands. Order Flower Essence Services, Sunflower from iherb Flower Essence Services, Mallow, Flower Essence The mallow is a flower of the heart. Its flower essence can help you to align the demands of your head with the intuition of the heart – in effect, to hear the whispers of your soul. Mallow is of great help to those who ‘lead from the head’ rather than from the heart and who often feel that life is a struggle although they are not sure why. This essence helps you to integrate your deepest beliefs and desires with your daily thinking and, in doing so, to live out more fully your true nature. Order Flower Essence Services, Mallow, Flower Essence from iherb Bach Original Flower Essences, Honeysuckle Honeysuckle flower essence was a favorite of Dr Bach – father of all flower essences. He prescribed it “to remove from the mind the regrets and sorrows of the past.” It is an essence which can help anyone who is stuck in the past, either through regret or nostalgia. As Dr Bach insisted, the important thing about any experience is that we learn from it, not continue to relive it. Honeysuckle flower essence helps put the events of the past where they belong – behind you – so that you can go forward into the future with the enthusiasm and innocence of the child reborn. Order Bach Original Flower Essences, Honeysuckle from iherb Flower Essence Services Calendula The flower essence of calendula is both warming and calming. It can help speakers, writers, teachers and leaders use words with clarity, compassion and creativity. The flower boasts a benign energy that makes it easier to express yourself and at the same time honor the opinions of others. Marigold can be especially useful for people who find their discussions too often end in arguments. This flower essence brings warmth and patience. It encourages you to listen as well as to make your point and furthers the cause of real communication. Order Flower Essence Services Calendula from iherb

How To Make Sprout Magic

How To Make Sprout Magic

Make them the base for salads, add them at the last minute to homemade soups, even carry them around with you in a bag and eat them instead of chocolate bars and biscuits. They are sweet and delicious and won’t leave you with an energy slump. An excellent way to cram your meals with goodness is to sprout your own seeds (sometimes called bean sprouts). Seeds and grains are latent powerhouses of nutritional goodness and life energy: Add water to germinate them, let them grow for a few days in your kitchen and you will harvest delicious, inexpensive fresh foods of quite phenomenal health-enhancing value. The vitamin content of seeds increases dramatically when they germinate. The vitamin C content in soya beans multiplies five times within three days of germination - a mere tablespoon of soybean sprouts contains half the recommended daily adult requirements of this vitamin. The vitamin B2 in an oat grain rises by 1300 percent almost as soon as the seed sprouts, and by the time tiny leaves have formed it has risen by 2000 percent. Some sprouted seeds and grains are believed to have anticancer properties, which is why they form an important part of the natural methods of treating the disease. Another attractive thing about sprouts is their price. The basic seeds and grains are cheap and readily available in supermarkets and health food stores - chickpeas, brown lentils, mung beans, wheat grains and so forth. And since you sprout them yourself with nothing but clean water, they become an easily accessible source of organically grown fresh vegetables, even for city dwellers. DIY Sprouting When you discover how economical and easy it is to grow sprouts you will want to have some on the go all the time. Once germinated, you can keep sprouts in polythene bags in the fridge for up to a week - just long enough to get a new batch ready for eating. Most people grow sprouts in glass jars covered with nylon mesh held in place with an elastic band around the neck, but I have discovered an even simpler method which allows you to grow many more, and avoids the jar method problem of seeds rotting due to insufficient drainage. You will need the following: seeds (e.g. mung beans) seed trays with drainage holes, available from gardening shops and nurseries a jar or bowl to soak seeds in overnight a plant atomizer - from gardening or hardware shops a sieve nylon mesh - available from gardening shops. Place two handfuls of seed or beans in the bottom of a jar or bowl and cover with plenty of water. Leave to soak overnight. Pour the seeds into a sieve and rinse well with water. Be sure to remove any dead or broken seeds or pieces of debris. Line a seedling tray with nylon mesh (this helps the seeds drain better) and pour in the soaked seeds. Place in a warm dark spot for fast growth. Spray the seeds twice a day with fresh water in an atomizer and stir them gently with your hand in order to aerate them. After about three days place the seeds in sunlight for several hours to develop the chlorophyll (green) in them. Rinse in a sieve, drain well and put in a polythene bag in the fridge to use in salads, wok-fries etc. There are many different seeds you can sprout - each with its own particular flavor and texture. Have fun discovering which ones you like best.

Apple Detox

Apple Detox

A time to be luxuriously lazy and self-indulgent, to enjoy the process of getting rid of all those wastes you really don’t want hanging around in your system making you look and feel low. A two day apple fast designed to be done over a weekend; it’s not even a fast, for you can eat as much as you like – but only apples. For two days all you have to do is to eat apples, and nothing but apples. Your body will do the rest. The reason the apple fast is done over a weekend is that the process of elimination can use up a lot of energy, so it’s a good idea to do it over two days when you are not working. The apple fast was taught to me thirty years ago by Dr Gordon Latto, a British medical doctor who used nothing but food and breathing techniques and a few herbs to heal even the most complex and chronic conditions. Eating as much as you want – but only apples – in place of your regular meals, and in between too if you like, for two days cleans your body, helps clear away food sensitivities, and banishes the ravages of unnatural appetite. A few days on apples once in a while can eliminate retained water, revive flagging energy, make your skin look wonderful and your eyes shine. No pregnant or breast-feeding woman should do an apple fast: neither should anyone with a kidney, liver or heart complaint, for in such cases any sudden change of diet carries with it potential dangers to health. But if you are generally well, a short apple fast is a great way to clear away the cobwebs. Check with your doctor first if you have any doubts. making apple history It was the apple which first led Swiss physician Max Bircher-Benner to develop his system of treatment based on living foods. Bircher-Benner was himself ill with a liver ailment, which made it virtually impossible for him to digest anything. One day, as he lay in his bed unable to rise or eat, his wife slipped a piece of fresh raw apple between his teeth. He tasted it, and to his surprise he found he could tolerate it. Several days – and many raw apples – later he found himself well again. He never forgot the humble apple or what it could do to detoxify the body and to help restore normal functioning to digestion, cells and the circulation. He used apples regularly in his dietary treatments of obesity and other illnesses. In fact, they formed the basis of his Bircher Muesli, which has become world famous. The apple has long been known as a health tonic, medicine, cosmetic and bowel-regulator all wrapped up in one skin. When eaten, it stimulates the secretion of digestive juices. It contains natural substances that help prevent digestive and liver troubles. Where unsweetened apple juice is the traditional drink among country people, there tends to be no incidence of kidney stones. The simple apple is traditionally used for eliminating obesity, as well as being a folk treatment for skin problems, bladder inflammation, anemia, insomnia, intestinal parasites and bad breath. an apple a day The adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is not just an old wives’ tale. The apple is quite rightly known as the queen of fruits. In its natural whole state, it supplies valuable fruit sugar and vitamins in a superb balance to ensure that your body can efficiently digest and use them. The apple is our richest fruit source of vitamin E and also provides a good supply of biotin and folic acid – two B-complex vitamins important in preserving energy, emotional balance and in keeping your digestive system clean and functioning well. It is also a fine source of vitamins A and C, which are both natural antioxidants – powerful anti-agers – not to mention more than a dozen minerals including sulfur, potassium, iodine, silica, magnesium and calcium, and even essential amino acids in small quantities. Apples are low in acidity to help balance stored bodily wastes which tend to be acidic. They stimulate the flow of saliva in the mouth, and clear away debris from the teeth. Eating a raw fresh apple stimulates circulation in the gums too. Finally, apples are rich in a very special form of soluble fiber called pectin which helps to clear out the dangerous heavy metals such as lead and aluminum that we all pick up from our city air, food and water. Heavy metals in your body are something you want to get rid of. These elements, the concentration of which has increased dramatically in our air, foods and water since the Industrial Revolution, can seriously interfere with your body’s metabolic functioning. Mercury tends to suppress the levels of white blood cells in the immune system. Cadmium displaces the essential element zinc needed for a great many of your body’s enzyme systems, and renders them inefficient and even inactive. In the West we now have a concentration of lead in our bodies some 500-1000 times that of our pre-industrial ancestors. High levels of this heavy metal age us prematurely, interfere with our mental processes, suppress immunity and contribute to depression. Aluminum, another heavy metal, detrimentally affects the central nervous system. The presence of all these elements in excessive quantities (and their concentrations in the human body appear to be increasing with each passing decade) generally interferes with your body’s metabolic processes. The ability of apples to remove heavy metals from your system is one of the best reasons for doing an apple fast, particularly if you live in a city. fantastic fiber The fiber that apples contain really is remarkable. In addition to cellulose (the most common kind of fiber, which binds water and increases fecal bulk), the apple is also rich in pectin – a very special kind of fiber with quite exceptional detoxification properties. So different in texture and character is pectin from other forms of fiber that it is sometimes surprising to think that they are classified in the same group. Unlike cellulose, pectin does not bind water, it is water-soluble. It has no influence on fecal bulking, but it appears to be an excellent substance for lowering cholesterol. It may also help eliminate bile acids from the intestines, thus short-circuiting the development of colon cancer and gallstones. It is also useful as a natural chelating (binding) agent which is why it is so good at mopping up unwanted heavy metals, such as aluminum, from the tissues and eliminating them from the body. This can be very important when it comes to detoxification for weight loss. prepare to be clean Getyourself a big bag of the freshest apples you can find – perhaps three or four different kinds for variety. If you don’t like the look of your apples you won’t want to eat them, so be picky. Buy a box of apples if you like, your greengrocer might give you a discount. On this pre-cleanse day it is a good idea to get your system ready. Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks. Steer clear of bread and cooked carbohydrates such as pasta and cereals, and make your last meal of the day a large raw salad made of fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t have anything else to eat after your salad, except perhaps a cup of herb tea before bed. This will give your body a good 12 hours head-start on the elimination process and it will thank you for it. the apple fast There’s really nothing to it. Over the two days you have chosen, tuck into your apples. Eat as many as you like at any time of the day or night. You must eat the whole apple including the peel, the seeds and the core. Chew well, until the last drop of flavor has been extracted from the fruit. The only part you throw away is the woody stem. Of course, you need to eat your apples raw. You can munch them whole, or grate them and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. You can even put them in the blender with spring water to make a drink. Eat nothing else during this two-day period, but eat them whenever you are hungry. Do not drink tea or coffee. You may have herb teas such as peppermint, lemon balm or chamomile with a teaspoon of honey if you wish. Drink lots of spring water, but nothing else. Be lazy and luxurious.  During these days indulge yourself doing whatever is pleasurable for you. Many people find their sexuality is heightened during these days. If so, enjoy it. Apples are great to munch in bed. In many ways, the most useful thing about the apple fast is the way you can call on it when you most need help to get you back on the rails again. We all slip up sometimes - we over work or over indulge and live to regret it the next day. A two day apple fast, or even just a day spent eating only apples, is an excellent ‘quick corrector’. Spend even just one day munching apples and it will help set all to rights again, so that when you awaken next morning you feel more like your old self and ready to face the day full of energy. Apple fasting gives you the chance to step back regularly and take a look at your lifestyle, instead of mechanically going on day after day without being aware of where your energy is going. Set aside two days, three or four times a year – a weekend is best – for an apple fast. This will spring clean your body from the inside out. Even apple fasting for one day a week is a great boost to vitality and good looks, because it helps detoxify your body of wastes accumulated as a result of drinking or eating too much, or consuming the wrong kinds of foods. It can also help calm the ravages of an over-enthusiastic appetite, which many people suffer as a result of food sensitivities or over-stimulation of the digestive system. Furthermore, it is an excellent discipline: such a practice helps you break through ingrained habit patterns, which can make us largely unaware of how we are eating.

Kick Colds Naturally

Kick Colds Naturally

The cold is the most common human ailment. It has been with us forever, and affects people all over the world. It’s estimated that the average adult will catch two to three colds a year. Despite its astounding prevalence, there are many natural means of helping your body avoid catching one. And if you already have a cold, you needn’t suffer a full-blown attack. Read on to arm yourself with invaluable cold-kicking know-how… GO WITH THE FLOW Catching a cold is no coincidence. It’s your body’s way of telling you two things. One: There are wastes in your system that need to be eliminated. And two: Your immunity is compromised. It needs building up. The kindest thing you can do for your body is to help it with these elimination and immune-boosting processes. An Epsom-salts bath is a great place to start. Soak, for half an hour, in blood-temperature water to which two cups of Epsom salts have been added. This will assist your body while it is trying to throw off toxins, thanks to the salts’ wonderful toxin-leaching properties. It will also relax you, and ease any bodily aches you might have. But perhaps the single best way you can help your body flush out the nasties is by drinking water—lots of it. (In fact, drink nothing else, except herb tea if you wish.) Make sure your water is fluoride free and otherwise clean. Then go for it. Two glasses first thing in the morning, and two between each meal, is a good amount for starters. EAT YOUR WAY TO HEALTH Next, you need to stop putting any toxic stuff back in. This means no baddies like alcohol; caffeine, grains, cereals and sugary convenience foods. Eating such things will put an extra strain on your system, undermine your body’s ability to fight back, and slow down the healing process. Milk products are also a no-go, as they are mucus-forming. And mucus is the last thing you need when you are already bunged up with a cold. What you need to eat are fresh, raw foods: Fruit. Vegetables. Unprocessed seeds and perhaps a few raw nuts. These will provide you with all the nutrients you need while your body is clearing the cold. Also, importantly, they will not put pressure on your digestive system. Apples, grapes, sunflower seeds and almonds are a few ideas. When you eat fruit, try starting with just one type to make digestion even easier. Then gradually add different fruits, fresh vegetable salads, and then, in a day or two, some lightly steamed vegetables as your cold improves. THREE HANDY COLD REMEDIES We all know that rest is important in fighting off illness, yet it’s often impossible given today’s demanding lifestyles. Quick, symptom-busting fixes are called for. So relax: help is at hand. Take tincture of Echinacea to get your circulation going and your system buzzing. On the first day, take a teaspoon in water every three hours; then three or four times a day afterwards till your cold clears completely. If you have a sore throat, it’s garlic to the rescue. This will surprise you but it works wonders: Tuck an entire unpeeled clove between your lower teeth and cheek and keep it there for as long as you can. Its amazing antiviral qualities will help your body kill off the bugs causing your sore throat. Vitamin C is another fantastic way of supporting your immune system as it does its job. Take between 3 grams (3,000 mg) and 6 grams, three times a day, until a day after the cold has cleared. YOUR HIDDEN DEFENDER So much for getting shot of cold symptoms while speeding up the healing process. “But how on earth do I stop catching colds?” You may well ask. The key to this is a fit, healthy and vigilant immune system. Keeping your immunity strong isn’t difficult. It just requires a little extra effort and awareness on your part. Here’s how. Start by taking a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement: Food-state supplements are best. I recommend Rainbow Light, Advanced Nutritional System, Food-Based Multivitamin, Iron-Free, 180 Tablets. As for extra Vitamin C protection, one to three grams a day is the way to go. Next, make sure to include plenty of fresh garlic in your cooking—one or two cloves per day—and use the Japanese Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms in your diet. These contain wonderful immune-strengthening compounds. Keep up your water drinking, too. Last but not least—remember that depression often goes hand in hand with depressed immunity. Laugh hard and often, and enjoy life. It will keep you well and make you feel great. Rainbow Light, Advanced Nutritional System, Food-Based Multivitamin, Iron-Free, 180 Tablets Powerful Antioxidant Stress Formula Energy Support Potent Superfoods Complete Multivitamin/Mineral Digestive Enzymes & Probiotics Buy Rainbow Light ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: Get $5 OFF your first order. They ship all over the world very cheaply, and their products are the cheapest and best in the world. Get your order sent to you via DHL. I use them for almost everything no matter where I am.

My Love Affair With Plants

My Love Affair With Plants

For more than a million years, our ancestors lived with herbs. They cooked with them, healed with them, used them to scent their bodies and sanctify their prayers. On a molecular level, the human body recognizes herbs when we take them. Get to know the nature of a few specific plants and they will enhance your life immeasurably. In a very real sense, we can come to know an herb the way a woman knows her lover. The spirit of a plant meets the spirit of a human. Expect magic. You won’t be disappointed. A FINE ROMANCE My own passion for herbs began when I discovered the help they could bring me and my family. Simple plants such as nettle or golden rod (Solidago virgauria) have a natural cleansing and diuretic effect on my body. Traveling on airplanes, my ankles used to swell up. I discovered when I got home and made a cup of golden rod or nettle tea, the swelling would vanish. Fascinated, I began to read about what herbs can do for the immune system. I began to experiment with other plants—goldenseal and echinacea, burdock and shiitake mushrooms. I began to give herbs to my whole family whenever any of us threatened to come down with flu or a cold. I discovered that, provided we took them in time, one or a combination of plants would clear the problem before the full force of any illness hit. A doctor friend, Gordon Latto, taught me that gargling with red sage and sticking a clove of garlic in its paper shell in between the teeth and the inside of the mouth for a few hours a day would clear a sore throat and nip throat infections in the bud. I began to wonder just how many other remarkable things plants could do for us. THE SUPERB ADAPTOGENS I was lucky enough to meet with the famous Russian scientist I.I. Brekhman, expert in adaptogenic herbs, who won the Lenin Prize for Science. From him I learned that the adaptogens such as ginseng, eluthrococcus or Siberian Ginseng, and Suma from South America strengthen a person’s ability to resist illness as well as making it possible for us to work and play longer and harder without experiencing the negative effects of prolonged stress. That was thirty years ago. Since then I have come to use herbs and flowers, fresh raw juices and vegetables, water and tender loving care to help the body protect itself from illness, heal a sickness when it struck, calm an agitated mind, induce slumber when unable to sleep, clear depression, and care for my skin. I have also learned to use herbs to decorate my house and sanctify my working space. I also fell in love with photographing them. Meanwhile, I raised four children without antibiotics or over-the-counter drugs thanks to the blessings of herbs. DAZZLING POWER The classic definition of an herb is ‘a non-woody plant which dies down to its roots each winter’. This definition is far too limiting. It was probably made up by 19th century European botanists who had never seen the rainforest in which, of course, there is no winter to die back in. Neither had they ever heard of woody trees and shrubs such as hawthorn, ginkgo and elder, which provide us with some of the best-selling herbs on the market these days. My own definition of an herb is simply a medicinal plant. It can come from any climate and be a leaf, a bark, a flower or a root. It can be home-grown or wild—a weed, a spice, a plant which is used for its healing, culinary or beautifying properties. So powerful are the health-enhancing capacities of herbs that a vast number of common prescription drugs have been derived from a mere 90 species of plants. According to Professor Norman Farnsworth—leading American expert in pharmacognosy at University of Illinois —74% of common drugs have been developed directly out of traditional native herb folklore. In the United States alone, the annual sales of prescription drugs developed from plant products used by tribal cultures is already in excess of $6 billion. Unlike prescription drugs, whose side-effects can be devastating, most herbs are both safe and simple to use. Most carry no side-effects at all. MEDICAL FAILURE The way we have thought about health and healing for the past century—what the experts call our biomedical model—has come to the limits of its usefulness. Conventional medical practices view the body as a collections of structures—bones and blood, cells and tissues. Common medical treatment consists of acting on these structures in a symptomatic way. Doctors give one drug to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, another to get rid of headaches or put you to sleep. Whether these drugs are medically prescribed or over-the-counter products, virtually all carry negative side effects. Most have no concern with genuine healing. They instead focus on ‘managing’ illness by suppressing symptoms. Herbal treatment, like all of the great natural approaches to health through history, looks at things differently. It insists that at every level of biological organisation—from chromosomes in our DNA all the way up to our eyes and toes, stomach and liver—the body has a stunning capacity for self-treatment. It is capable of removing damaged structures and renewing them on its own. The natural capacity of living organisms as complex as ours to regenerate themselves is something that symptomatic drug-based medicine ignores altogether. Yet self-regeneration lies at the very core of using natural foods, water, air and movement therapies, and of course herbs, to strengthen, balance or heal. Chinese medicine is functional medicine; it did not develop along structural lines as Western 20th century medicine did. So is Ayurvedic and Unani medicine from India, and nature-cure in the West. The Chinese pharmacopoeia is the richest in the world. Chinese doctors value plants for their ability to strengthen the body’s functioning, heighten its own defences and improve immunity. They use herbs, as we are only now beginning to in the West, to extend longevity, to increase resistance to illness, to heighten energy, and to calm disturbed emotions. BRING MAGIC INTO YOUR LIFE There is an endless parade of different ways you can use herbs. In the health food store and mail order catalogue you can find a confusing array of capsules, pills, tablets, extracts, tinctures and ‘whole herbs’ or ‘bulk herbs’, none of which seem to relate to the ‘infusion’ you have decided you would like to take. And what about the herbs you have growing in your garden? Here is a rough guide to finding your way through the confusion. First, find yourself a reputable supplier. I have a passion for iHerb.com, since the variety of herbal products they offer are the best and cheapest anywhere, and they ship worldwide. Personally, I’m wary of buying herbs in health food stores or pharmacies unless they come from a manufacturer or supplier I know. With a supplier you trust and with whom you can discuss your needs, you can be sure you are getting a good potency and that the herbs have not been sitting in a cupboard somewhere for months. BULK/DRIED/WHOLE HERBS What you are buying is a bag or box of a specific weight of dried herb, either in its whole form, crushed or powdered. This is the best way to purchase herbs if you want to make teas (infusions), decoctions, or your own capsules, or if you want to use them in potpourris and sachets. It is also about the cheapest way to buy dried herbs. TINCTURES A tincture uses alcohol diluted in water to draw out the plant’s chemical constituents and preserve them. You can buy tinctures by the bottle and they are pretty potent. You take from several drops to 1 teaspoon or more of a tincture in a little water several times a day if needed. Tinctures are best bought from a reputable supplier. You can make them yourself, but the process is less accurate than when they are professionally produced. I buy many herbs in tincture form as I find them so convenient. You will sometimes find a figure such as 1:4 on a bottle of tincture. This gives you the ratio of the weight of the herb—in this instance 1 part of herb—to alcohol/water mix. An herbalist may suggest you take a specific ratio in which case your supplier can advise, but for general usage you don’t need to know the ratio. EXTRACTS Extracts are easy to confuse with tinctures. They are far more concentrated. They aim to contain all the active chemicals of the plant, not only those that will dissolve in alcohol. Extraction processes vary from pressure rolling to heat treatment to vacuum extraction. These are best left to the experts. Extracts have a limited shelf life. They should be kept in the fridge. Herbalists often prescribe extracts during an illness, rather than using them for prevention. Extracts can also be useful to add to a cream or salve for external use: ¼ extract to ¾ base. They are pretty strong in their action. TABLETS, PILLS & CAPSULES Tablets, pills and capsules are often more readily than the loose dried herbs themselves. Tablets, pills and capsules usually contain the whole herb, not just the constituents extracted in a tincture or infusion. Therefore, in taking them, you are making use of the synergy in action between all the constituents of each plant. Choose those from a reputable manufacturer/supplier. Tablets are made from dried plant material—leaves, roots, bark and/or flowers—mixed with a base, sometimes lactose, both to help you hold them in your hand to take them and to aid absorption in the stomach. Pills are, basically, tablets with a coating. If the plant is sticky, smelly, or tastes dreadful—or all three—it is more likely to come in pill form than tablet form as the protein or sugar coating disguises less pleasant aspects of the plant. Usually I avoid these, since sugar in any form is far from beneficial. Capsules, made of gelatine or a vegetarian equivalent, are filled with dried herbs—even the stickier, smellier ones. They need to be stored in a cool, dry place, but they preserve herbs well. You can buy gelatine capsules from a chemist and fill them yourself, either with herbs you have dried yourself or with dried herbs you have bought in bulk. The standard 00 size capsule holds about ½ gram (500mg) of herb. Make sure the herb is ground into as fine a powder as possible before filling, so that it can be easily absorbed by the body. A WONDROUS WORLD Plants speak volumes when you know how to listen. One of the great joys of our herbal tradition has been the love affair that takes place when the spirit of an herb meets the spirit of the person using it. It is an old art by which, using your intuition and trusting your instinct, you can move towards an awareness of the central nature of a plant and how best it can be used. For example—the herb Leonurus cardiaca is a powerful strengthener of the heart, reducing tachycardia and hypertension and promoting normal heart action. The essence of its personality, however, is better expressed in its common name—motherwort. This herb has the ability to bring a sense of absolute security—the way a baby feels lying in the arms of its mother—during periods of deep and unsettling change. Every plant has secret wisdom and power. It will tell you its tales and offer its richness to you as you open your heart to it.

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Are you one of the thousands of people who reach for artificial “low-calorie” sweeteners—such as aspartame or saccharin—to add to your tea or coffee, in the belief that they can help keep you from getting fat? If so, this is hardly surprising. We have had this lie shoved down our throats through advertising and the media, thanks to the lobbying of money-hungry companies keen to sell the sickly sweet chemicals they peddle. Independent research into the dangers of artificial sweeteners rarely sees the light of day. It can be a serious challenge to find unbiased data amongst the multitude of misinformation that is littered across cyberspace. It’s essential that you learn the truth about these destructive substances, as well as what they’re really doing to your health and your waistline. APPETITE STIMULANTS Independent studies have turned up some surprising results when analyzing the relationship between the use of artificial sweeteners and obesity, although as yet few people know about this. Far from helping you lose weight, these sweeteners actually stimulate your appetite, causing cravings and telling your body to “store fat”. How does this happen? When you taste something sweet, your body expects calories to immediately follow, just as they do when you eat sugar. This triggers your appetite. However, since the calories don’t follow, the sensation of hunger remains. You begin to crave more sweet-tasting, carb-rich foods. This effect is most marked in aspartame, though it also applies to the other common sweeteners such as saccharin and acesulfame potassium. HORMONE HAVOC This alone is bad enough, but it’s only half the story. The other half concerns aspartame’s effect on the key hormone insulin, responsible for regulating fat metabolism. Although vigorously denied by the “research” of the manufacturing companies, recent studies indicate that aspartame can actually trick your pancreas into releasing insulin—despite the fact that aspartame does not alter blood sugar. It can do this simply by activating our “sweet” taste receptors. Since the elevated insulin finds no blood sugar to combine with, this increases your hunger even more, and makes your cravings worse. The result of all this? You’re more likely to a) eat more of the sugary foods you’re craving, setting up a vicious circle, and b) lay down more fat stores, due to the hormonal fluctuations happening in your body. A new study published in the January 2013 issue of science journal Appetite reported that, between groups of rats fed either aspartame, saccharin or sugar, the aspartame and saccharin groups gained more weight than the sugar group—and this was unrelated to intake of calories, since they all ate the same foods. BAD NEWS FOR DIABETICS Not only is this terrible news for those trying to shed fat. It also has dire consequences for the ever-growing group of humans afflicted by diabetes. Many diabetics have been led to believe that these sweeteners are a healthier alternative than sugar, when this too is based on a fallacy. Sugar itself, in all its forms, is also toxic to the human body. And it too is an arch enemy to good health and weight loss. (See Robert Lustig’s excellent lecture on the dangers of sugar here.) But unlike sugar, low-calorie sweeteners are often sold as “diabetes-safe.” This too is a dangerous lie. As we have already seen, consuming aspartame can elevate insulin levels abnormally. The more often this happens, the more the body becomes resistant to this hormone. The insulin resistance that follows will lead to—or worsen—diabetes, along with obesity and many chronic degenerative conditions. FURTHER DANGERS As if you needed any more reason to stay away from artificial sweeteners, get this: Aspartame is composed of two separate components, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Phenylalanine quickly degrades into methanol, which in turn becomes formaldehyde—yep, that stuff lab specimens, and dead bodies are stored in—and accumulates in our cells. When levels of this nasty chemical get high enough in the system, it can cause all sorts of dangerous effects. The “Aspartame Consumer Safety Network Fact Sheet” warns of the following potential symptoms: “headaches, nausea, vertigo, insomnia, numbness, blurred vision, blindness and other eye problems, memory loss, slurred speech, depression, personality changes, hyperactivity, stomach disorders, seizures, skin lesions, rashes, anxiety attacks, muscle cramping and joint pain, loss of energy, symptoms mimicking heart attacks, hearing loss and ear ringing, and loss or change of taste.” All that, and it won’t even help you lose weight! NATURE’S SWEET OFFERINGS So what can we turn to now that both artificial sweeteners and sugar are off the menu? Fortunately for those of us with a sweet tooth, nature has provided a delicious and safe alternative: Derived from the sweet leaf plant, Stevia, in its natural state, is the best no-calorie, health-supporting natural sweetener on the planet. Even though it’s sweeter than sugar, its taste has a slower onset and longer duration, meaning it doesn’t carry the same risks as aspartame and the other artificial sweeteners. Not only is it safe—it is actually good for you, and may even help enhance glucose tolerance and improve insulin sensitivity. Another natural alternative safe for occasional use is coconut sugar, derived from the blossoms of the coconut palm. It has a high nutritional content, containing potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron, as well as Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6. It has a low glycemic index, so is considered safe for diabetics. It has a rich flavor that has been compared to toffee. Coconut sugar, which is currently bringing high profits to both coconut farmers and retailers especially in the US, has one major drawback, however. What nobody is warning consumers about is that coconut palm trees cannot produce both coconuts and coconut palm sugar, which is gleaned by drawing the sap out of the tree. When the sap is used to make coconut sugar, the flower buds, which are dependent on the tree’s sap enabling them to form, wither and die so the tree cannot grow coconuts. Because the tree can no longer produce coconuts and all the precious products made from them it can suffer and die. In short, producing coconut palm sugar is not a sustainable industry. Despite experiments in some places to make use of coconut trees one year as sap producers and the next as a coconut producer, this remains a serious challenge worldwide. STEVIA—IT’S GOOD FOR YOU An exotic herb which grows in subtropical areas of South America, stevia is replete with non-caloric sweet molecules. This is the reason for its sugary flavor. Stevia has sweetened herbal drinks since Pre-Columbian times. Its properties were first recorded by a botanist named Antonio Bertoni in 1887, who wrote about ways the natives of Paraguay used it. Others have discovered stevia in the past fifty years and made good use of it. Japan and the United States have done extensive research and safety testing on the plant. Their research shows that this marvelous sweet herb is non-toxic, safe for diabetics and beneficial for weight loss as well as daily use for yourself and family. More good news: Stevia is not a source of nutrition for bacteria in the mouth, nor for yeasts and fungi such as Candida albicans in the body. A few years ago, following some rather bogus animal research promoted by Monsanto—who produce much of the artificial sweeteners in the world—the European parliament banned the sale of stevia in Britain and Europe. There is not much pressure at the moment to lift that ban. In the meantime, if you live in the EU, you can nevertheless order stevia online from herbal shops, either in your own country or another European country, including the UK, without difficulty. It is widely available in shops and stores in the United States and Canada, Australia and New Zealand and most other countries of the world. Stevia is great for all sorts of reasons on Cura Romana. How sweet is Stevia extract? Stevia extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Add a pinch to drinks like coffee or tea. Dilute in water when you are using it to make a salad dressing or dessert. How many calories are in Stevia extract? None. Stevia extracts have zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sugar, zero fat and zero cholesterol. Can Stevia extract replace sugar in the diet? Yes. Refined sugar is virtually devoid of nutritional benefits and, at best, represents empty calories in your diet. Stevia is natural, much sweeter than sugar, and has none of sugar’s unhealthy drawbacks. Can Stevia replace artificial sweeteners in the diet? Yes! Stevia is the only a safe, calorie-free, all-natural alternative to artificial or chemical pharmaceutical sweeteners in the world. Will Stevia raise my blood sugar levels? Not at all. In fact, according to some research, it may actually lower blood sugar levels. Can I use Stevia if I am diabetic? Yes. Stevia is a great addition to a healthy diet for anyone with blood sugar problems since it does not raise blood sugar levels. I’d advise you to stay away from any form of artificial sweeteners including those recently being marketed as “natural stevia” which are, in truth, distortions of the real thing. Here are the best and most useful forms of stevia you will find anywhere. Both can be ordered direct from iHerb no matter where you are in the world. BEST LIQUID STEVIA Wisdom Natural, SweetLeaf, Liquid Stevia, English Toffee Sweet Leaf liquid stevia with all natural flavors is convenient and easy to use. As a supplement, add this nutritious stevia to water, tea, coffee, milk, sparkling water, protein shakes, plain yogurt or anything else you can imagine. It comes in many different flavors including lemon but English Toffee flavor is the best by far. Buy English Toffee Stevia BEST GRANULATED STEVIA Spoonable Stevia by Stevita uses only stevia extract with at least 95% pure glycosides (extremely sweet tasting ingredients of the Stevia herb leaves), and a little erythritol, a crystal granulated naturally produced filler found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It is best for baking and sprinkling. Buy Stevita GOOD COCONUT SUGAR Navitas Naturals, Coconut Sugar, 16 oz This coconut sugar is top of the range. It’s produced in Indonesia where farmers have harvested the nectar from coconut palm trees for herbal medicine and food for centuries. This product contains 100% pure evaporated coconut sugar that is certified organic, kosher and vegan. Buy Coconut Sugar ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: They ship all over the world very cheaply, and their products are the cheapest and best in the world. Get your order sent to you via DHL. I use them for almost everything no matter where I am.

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Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 19,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 14 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 6th of December 2022 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.88 lb
for women
-1.06 lb
for men
-0.88 lb
for women
-1.06 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 6th of December 2022 (updated every 12 hours)

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